How do you get out of a personal pickle?

For many years, I had a need to be organised and structured – and still do to some degree – however, I recognised that I needed to develop my ability to work with less structure. This was a personal development area when I undertook my NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner training about 10 years ago. So I took myself off to Dubrovnik, Croatia – a place I  had never visited before – in January with no accommodation booked. I arrived at Dubrovnik Airport at 10pm and only found a room at 2am – the intervening 4 hours was very uncomfortable, particularly the last hour.

But Dubrovnik is a wonderful city with a rich history, and it quickly became apparent that it was well worth the visit. I decided I had quite enough learning on that first night, and would now enjoy the rest of my week. A couple of days later, having read about the beautiful island of Mljet, I decided to visit it – having been reliably informed by the Tourist Office in Dubrovnik that there would be plenty of places to stay and eat.

I got to the harbour and boarded the ferry for the 2 hour trip. I was slightly concerned that there were only a dozen other people on the boat, and most of them were over the age of 60. Looking at their ‘luggage’, it was obvious that they were returning from taking produce to Dubrovnik market. It was a lovely day though, the views were stunning and I soon put my concerns to one side. In fact, I started thinking how good it would be with so few tourists there!

Mljet is a long thin island with one road that runs along the spine of the island. Sobra, the ferry port, is towards one end of the island and Polace – a small village on the verge of the national park and my destination – at the other end. The promised bus was waiting there at the ferry terminal. All twelve ferry passengers got on and we set off. As we drove along the island, people got off one by one. Polace was the penultimate stop, and as we approached I was the only person left on the bus. How wonderfully peaceful, I thought. I got off, the bus drove off and I looked for one of the lodgings. Then it hit me … Mljet was shut.

I walked up and down the sea front. It was around 5pm and getting dark. The warm sunny day was turning into a cool, clear January evening.  The only lights that were on were in the small shop. None of the other houses had any signs of life. All the shoreline restaurants were obviously closed for winter. The next ferry back was early in the morning (presumably to take people to the market!), with the connecting bus passing back through Polace at 4.15am. There was no way of getting off the island that evening. For someone who needed structure, I was in a real pickle.

What would you have done?

I will tell you what I did and how I did it tomorrow in my next blog post.

Paul

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